Review: Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: June 12, 2012
Rating: 2 bookmarks (borrow it)
Source: courtesy of Engelman & Co.
Natalie’s 1-Sentence Synopsis: From the authors of The Nanny Diaries, comes a new novel that pulls back the stage curtains and peels back the perfect façade of life as a pop-star princess.
Celebrity is the advantage of being known to people who we don’t know, and who don’t know us.-Nicholas Chamfort, author
Cousins Logan and Kelsey Wade grew up small town girls from Oklahoma but are pulled apart after a family drama when they are teenagers. Kelsey follows the bright lights to Los Angeles, in search of fame and Logan heads to NYU and life in the big city.
Now in their late 20s, the girls are reunited, and Logan is prevailed upon to take over as Kelsey’s assistant. Things quickly spiral out of control as Kelsey makes a series ill-fated decisions that threaten to tarnish her pop-star reputation and call her stability into question.
As a fan of The Nanny Diaries, I was eager to give Between You and Me a read. Touted as a story inspired by the trials and tribulations of Britney Spears, it promised a behind-the-scenes glimpse at life as a celebrity. While not an actual Roman á clef, the story does draw heavily on Spears’s early celebrity, rise to fame, and painful fall.
McLaughlin and Kraus captured the essence of celebrity and fame with great success through characterization. They depicted Kelsey’s vulnerability and let it shine through in a few pivotal scenes. Her loneliness and pain were palpable, and I was able to see how difficult it must be to live a life surrounded by fawning sycophants and parasites. The inability to trust even your closest friends and family members must create such tension and internal conflict!
I wanted this book to be a great beach read, but for me it fell short in a few areas. I had difficulty getting into and staying with the story. It didn’t feel fractured or disjointed, but it didn’t pull me in or hold my attention for more than a few chapters at a stretch. Some scenes and situations were awkward and others were downright implausible.
There were some flat characters who could have been mined further, and the nagging feeling that I was watching a train wreck unfold before my eyes left me feeling a bit unsettled. Also, skinny dipping at your estranged celebrity cousin’s palatial estate when you think no one is home? Never a good idea.
By the time Britney Spears showed up on the scene, I was well out of my teen years and she was barely a blip on my music radar (my students try valiantly to keep me hip). For those who grew up with Spears, Between You and Me might be a great pick. They will be able to recognize all the nuances and references. Unfortunately for me, this one was more miss than ‘hit’.
Paula from The Phantom Paragrapher
Tammydotts from Small Pond
Jonita at The Book Chick
Heather at Pure Textuality